I’ll explain how you can transfer money from Italy to the UK in four basic steps.
The main thing is to avoid paying high bank charges along the way.
How to transfer money from Italy to the UK (in 4 basic steps)
Step 1 - Identity check
Financial regulations require an ID check for all new customers. This only has to be done once.
Most people can be verified using standard information such as passport number, date of birth and address. It is generally a quick and easy process.
Step 2 - Lock-in an exchange rate
To move money from Italy to the UK, you need to lock-in a Euro to Pound exchange rate.
The rate changes every few seconds throughout the day – so getting a good rate can make a big difference to the amount of Pounds you receive for your Euros.
A bank or money transfer specialist can provide you with their latest rates – but be aware there are no standard rates – they will vary depending on who you use.
Once you have received a quote if you are happy to go ahead, the rate agreed is locked in, and you will be emailed a confirmation with all the details.
Step 3 - Send in your Euros
Before any money is converted, you need to send in your Euros to pay for your money transfer.
Your email confirmation will include the details of where to pay your Euros.
Step 4 - Your Euros are converted into Pounds
Upon receipt of your Euros, your bank or money transfer company will convert them into Pounds and send them to the UK bank account you have requested.
How long does it take to send money from Italy to the UK?
Generally speaking, money transfers from Italy to the UK are fast.
It typically takes 1-3 working days for your money to arrive in the UK.
The time taken will vary because of weekends, public holidays, daily cut-off times, and the efficiency of banks.
There are daily cut-off times for international transfers. It is normally around 4 pm each day – meaning if your money arrives after that time, it will count as the next working day.
From my experience, a lot of the time is spent waiting for the receiving bank in the UK to clear the funds into your account.
All banks have their own checks and internal processes when they receive funds from abroad. It’s nothing to worry about, but it can cause a delay sometimes of a day or two.
Try not to leave your transfer until the last minute if you are buying something like a property, car or boat as you are likely to have a deadline.
The best way to transfer money from Italy to the UK
It can seem like you have endless options. There is a lot of competition in the money transfer industry, which can be mind-boggling for a customer.
Put simply; you have two options.
You can use with a bank or money transfer specialist.
Each has pros and cons.
If I was to summarise the difference in a sentence – banks are more convenient, and money transfer companies are cheaper.
Can use your existing account
High charges, minimal help, daily limits
Small payments, convenience
Money Transfer Specialist
Normally lower cost
Need to register first
Large or regular amounts (over €5,000)
Costs compared: banks vs. money transfer companies
Whenever you make an international money transfer there are two charges to look out for:
- Transfer fees
- Exchange rates
The transfer fee is the more visible cost; however, the exchange rate cost tends to be of greater importance.
1. Transfer fees
Transfer fees tend to be a simple, flat fee that is charged for every international transfer you carry out.
Banks tend to charge them, but some money transfer companies do not.
The big Italian banks don’t make it easy to find out what transfer fees they charge.
Despite UniCredit and Banca Intesa having a Schedule of Tariffs that runs for 20+ pages, it seems to vary depending on the type of account you have. Not very helpful (or transparent).
Speaking to clients who have used the Italian banks, the transfer fees seem to be in the region of €15 to €30 per transfer.
That will tend to bite more for smaller or regular money transfers.
Banks also tend to charge more for priority transfers, as opposed to standard transfers. It’s just a way to extract another fee.
Most people don’t like paying fees, so if you want to avoid transfer fees, I suggest you use a money transfer specialist.
2. Exchange Rates
There is no such thing as standard exchange rates.
Every bank or a money transfer company has its own exchange rates, which is why it is important to shop around.
Banks typically offer some of the worst exchange rates in the market.
My reasoning is they rely on customers who don’t know they can go elsewhere.
I’ve looked at the currency conversion tools provided by Italy’s leading banks, UniCredit and Banca Intesa, and it looks like their exchange rate margin ranges between 3.5% - 4.1%.
To put that into perspective, on a €50,000 money transfer to the UK, you would pay €1,750 to €2,050 in exchange rate costs.
That’s very high, in my opinion.
I would suggest you try a money transfer specialist and compare the costs.
I have no issue with the Italian banks, but I can tell looking at their websites that foreign exchange is well down their list of priorities. It hardly gets a mention as a service.
In contrast, foreign exchange is the core service of a money transfer specialist.
And as a money transfer specialist has far lower overheads than the big banks, they can undercut them on margin and provide much better exchange rates.
As a tip, if you want to find the cheapest way to transfer money from Italy to the UK, make sure you any comparison at roughly the same time.
The Euro to Pound exchange rate moves every few seconds, so you want to be comparing apples with apples.
Is there a limit on money transfers from Italy to the UK?
The answer is NO.
Italy has no foreign exchange controls – it’s part of the EU’s rules.
However, most of the big banks impose daily limits for international money transfers even though they are not required to.
For example; Banca Intesa has a €50,000 daily limit for international transfers.
UniCredit doesn’t publish their daily limit, but it is likely to be a similar level as the big banks tend to copy each other.
For larger money transfers, a daily limit is a pain. It costs you more in fees and takes up more time and hassle to get your transfer done.
Money transfer specialists don’t tend to have any daily limits.
If you are planning to transfer a large amount of money from Italy to the UK, you are best off using a money transfer specialist as it will be easier and more efficient.
Is it safe to use a money transfer specialist?
If you haven’t used a money transfer company before, you might be wondering about the safety and security measures in place.
The key thing to look out for is whether a money transfer company is Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – the UK’s financial services regulator.
Why? Because companies are Authorised by the FCA are required to keep all client funds in safeguarded accounts which are kept separately to any company funds.
So when you use an Authorised money transfer company, your money passes through a bank account designated only for client funds and is not co-mingled with any company money.
To find out if a money transfer specialist is authorised and regulated, just enter the company’s name on the FCA register and click on the button to the right that says Search the Register.
Beware of online ‘teaser’ rates
A lot of the exchange rates you see published online are ‘teaser rates’ designed to generate clicks.
By that I mean they are not actually available to customers. They are essentially artificial wholesale rates used by banks trading between themselves.
It can be tricky for a customer to navigate their way through the smoke and mirrors of comparison sites and abundance of forex websites.
So while the internet is a great source of information, it is also a great source of misinformation.
The truth is usually buried in a cleverly worded disclaimer.
My point is that if you want a commercial rate so you can budget effectively, I would suggest you request a quote from an actual provider.
How to get the best exchange rate
If you are transferring money from Italy to the UK, achieving a favourable Euro to Pound exchange rate is usually the most important factor.
Even small, fractional moves in the rate can have a big impact on the amount of Pounds you receive.
For example, if you were transferring say €50,000, even a tiny 1% improvement in the exchange rate could save you €500.
Swings of that size happen on a frequent basis – sometimes even within a single day.
For someone unfamiliar with currency markets, it can be difficult to know when it’s a good time to exchange your money. A money transfer specialist can help you with this.
Some money transfer specialists, such as ourselves, will assign you an account manager who can understand your requirements and keep an eye on fluctuations in the rate for you.
I should point out that not all money transfer specialists (and definitely no banks) offer this kind of service.
There are also online-only operators, such as PayPal, TransferWise and Revolut, which offer "do-it-yourself" platforms or apps.
You have to enter all the information, press all the buttons and make all the decisions.
They tend to be popular for smaller amounts (under £5,000).
For larger Euros to Pounds transfers, many customers want the peace of mind of having someone that can offer expertise and a helping hand.
If the EUR to GBP rate moves in your favour or begins to go the wrong way, a money transfer specialist can alert you to opportunities or risks as they arise.
Getting some guidance on exchange rates could help optimise the timing of your transfer and ultimately, reduce your costs.
If you need to transfer money from Italy to the UK, you can use either a bank or money transfer company.
While it might seem obvious to use the bank where your Euros are held, it can be significantly cheaper and more efficient to use a money transfer company.
At Key Currency we help our customers achieve better exchange rates, minimise their risk and reduce costs.
We are particularly experienced at dealing with overseas property transactions, emigration and repatriation of savings.
As a company, we are open and transparent – we don’t hide behind a logo or app. The names and faces of all our people on our website.
We have hundreds of customer reviews and have attained a 5-star "Excellent" customer rating on the review website Trustpilot; which is the highest rating available.
Key Currency is an FCA regulated Authorised Payment Institution (No. 753989), and as such, you have the peace of mind knowing that all money transfers are conducted through safeguarded client accounts.
If you feel our service could be of use to you, simply request a free quote below.